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When Does Child Support Terminate and Under What Conditions in San Diego for a Paternity, Legal Separation or Divorce Case in 2013?

Child Support In San Diego County

Whether you are a parent in a divorce, paternity or legal separation, the orders child support are the same and calculated by “guideline” in the San Diego Courts. There are, however, two different Court systems in family law which calculate child support: Family Law Court and the Department of Child and Social Services Court. The Family Law Courts have two branches downtown with one on Sixth Street [Main] and one on Fourth Avenue [Madge Bradley] and one branch each in Vista, El Cajon and Chula Vista for a total of six. The Department of Child and Social Services has a court on Broadway downtown San Diego and a court on Melrose in Vista in North County for a total of two. The computer programs are different for the Family Law Courts as compared to the Department of Child and Social Services Courts but the difference in the court ordered support is nominal.

Duty Of Support

The legal obligation for child support will continue until the child reaches the age of 18 and graduates high school [whichever occurs latter] or when the child reaches the age of 19 or is not a full time student. This legal obligation can be enforced through either the Family Law Court of the DCSS Court. In the DCSS court, if the child support is not paid per the court order, it is not uncommon for San Diego drivers license suspensions, passport renewal denials, professional license suspension, federal and state tax intercepts and other enforcement methods. Non payment of court orders child support can also result in a criminal action for contempt of Court.


Legal adoption, in San Diego, will terminate child support obligations for the parent whose parental rights were terminated. In San Diego, there have been many step parent adoptions and the parent who adopts then has the legal duty and obligation to support and the parent whose rights were terminated does not. Conversely, of course, the adopting parent now has legal rights and the parent whose parental rights no longer exist has no legal rights.


The passing of either the payor of child support or the child will result in termination of child support. This is by operation of law.


The emancipation of a minor will result in termination of child support for both parents. Emancipation means that the San Diego Superior Court has entered a judgment that a child under the age of 18 is no longer a minor and is an adult for all legal purposes. This requires that the child can legally support themselves. Again, there must be a legal order.

Extension By Stipulation

There have been cases, in San Diego, where the parents have agreed to extend the duration of child support in excess of the California law. In these case, the Courts have enforced the extension of child support as being per a judgment and agreement. This is analogous to parents agreeing to paying for college tuition or expenses. The San Diego Superior Court Judge does not have the legal authority to order either parent to pay undergraduate or graduate educational expenses but, if the parents agree, then the Court will enforce.

Other Factors

There are other factors, such as concealment, which are not discussed in this article.

Doppelt and Forney, APLC Has Experience in Child Support Cases in San Diego County Whether In Family Law Court or DCSS Court

Our law office has represented clients in both Family Law Court and San Diego DCSS cases. If you have a child support case in San Diego, please feel free to contact us for a confidential and free in-person or virtual consultation up to 30 minutes. Their law office has the disso master program which calculates child support in San Diego Family Law Court so you can have a realistic expectation of what you would pay or what you would receive.

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